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Indian colts have a lot to learn from U-19 tri-series

Even though the India colts have crushed Bangladesh by 82 runs in Kolkata, it’s done little to hide the grey areas as the hosts begin their U-19 World Cup preparations

Kolkata: As the big boys brace themselves for their next battle with South Africa, India’s colts slipped into an important campaign in Kolkata on Friday.

A tri-series, which has Bangladesh and Afghanistan as opponents, is India’s late launch of preparations for the Under-19 World Cup, to be played in Bangladesh early next year.


India’s Avesh Khan celebrates the fall of a Bangladesh wicket in Kolkata yesterday. Pic/PTI

International exposure
Last month’s inaugural U-19 Challenger Series in Pune may have had the Indian colts warming to bigger tasks, but it is this tri-series that provides international exposure for the first time since last year’s World Cup in the UAE.

Bangladesh’s tour of Sri Lanka, an away-and-home series against South Africa, both of which they won, and a scheduled home series against West Indies a fortnight before the World Cup begins in late January, presents a telling contrast.

On Friday, at Jadavpur University’s Salt Lake campus, the Ricky Bhui-led Indian team crushed Bangladesh by 82 runs. But it did little to hide the faultlines of a team feeling its way in as an unit. The Indians, their rustiness manifesting itself through poor shot selection and glaring technical deficiencies, were bowled out for a mere 158 in 45.3 overs.

It’s just that their opponents did worse.

Spinners picked up six of the nine Indian wickets that went to the bowlers and it was alarming to find batsmen repeatedly beaten because they failed to read deliveries. Sub-continental conditions during the World Cup will put the accent on spin, and the Indians need to quickly address this aspect of their game. Of course, their spinners didn’t get the chance to showcase their craft after the Bangladesh batsmen didn’t quite get past the seam-up bowlers.

Bowlers on song
Avesh Khan (6-3-4-4) and left-armers Kanishk Seth (2) and Shubham Mavi (1) drove them into a hole from which they never emerged.

Four of the five members of BCCI’s junior selection committee, including its chairman Venkatesh Prasad, are here to take a close look and the team management is keen to try out each of the 20 members of the squad during this double-leg round-robin tournament that culminates in a final on November 29.

As the colts try to quickly get into the groove before next January’s big event, they are lucky to have someone like Rahul Dravid around. Hopefully, the experience, technical finesse and work ethics of their coach will bring a wave of inspiration into the camp.

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